Army, DARPA award contract for combat program

Army, DARPA award contract for combat program

The Army has chosen two industry giants to boost its high-tech fighting power and develop the Future Combat Systems program.

Part of the service's broad transformation initiative, a $154 million contract was awarded to Boeing Co. and Science Applications International Corp. The contracting team will spend the next 16 months researching and developing a program to integrate IT into manned and unmanned vehicles throughout the Army for what the service calls its Objective Force.

Future Combat Systems is a joint program between the Army and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. It is seen as an interconnected system of systems because the ground combat network installed in Army vehicles will be part of a synchronized infrastructure.

'Future Combat Systems is a major step in the transformation of the Army,' said Claude M. Bolton Jr., the Army's assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology. Bolton said selecting a lead systems integrator was 'critical to making the Objective Force a reality in this decade.'

Lt. Gen. John Riggs, director of the Objective Force Task Force, called the Future Combat Systems 'the core building block within all Objective Force maneuver units of action to enhance advanced joint and coalition warfighting capabilities.'

The Army's vision for the Objective Force is that it be more agile than current combat forces yet just as lethal.
FCS will feature real-time situational awareness and require less logistics support and maintenance than current systems, Army officials said. It will also be interoperable with other military systems, enabling better communication during joint operations.

The contract award for the lead systems integrator follows a 21-month concept design phase for which four contractor teams developed plans for FCS.

The system is expected to be operational by 2010.

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